A Felony is a crime punishable by imprisonment in state prison (i.e.-punishable by imprisonment for greater than one year).
What happens if I am arrested?
If you have been arrested for breaking a criminal law, you will be taken to the district court for an arraignment. You will be held by the police or sheriff until a bond is set and/or the arraignment takes place.
The arraignment is held before a district court judge or magistrate. At the arraignment, the judge or magistrate will explain to you the charges, your constitutional rights, and the possible consequences if you are convicted of the charge. The court also determines whether you can be released on bond and, if so, will set the bail amount or other conditions for release (i.e. letter, restrictions, drug or alcohol use) and collect the bail. At that time, a date will be set for a preliminary examination.
What is a Preliminary Examination?
If you are accused of committing a felony, a preliminary examination must be conducted by the district court in the county where the crime took place within 14 days of the arraignment. At the preliminary examination, a district court judge determines if there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and if there is probable cause to believe that you committed the crime. If the judge believes that the prosecution has met their burden, the case will be transferred to circuit court.
What happens at Circuit Court?
At the circuit court level, another arraignment is held. After the arraignment, a pretrial conference is generally scheduled along with motion cutoff dates. If the case is not resolved at the subsequent pretrial(s) and/or hearing dates, the matter will proceed to trial. It is not unusual for a case to have several pretrials and/or hearings before resolution of a criminal case.
Penalties for Felony Cases
Depending upon the crime, penalties for felony convictions range from probation to a life term in prison. Additional penalties can include fines, court costs, statutory assessments, vehicle immobilization, community service, license sanctions, drug and/or alcohol treatment, and anger management counseling.
Sentencing agreements and plea agreements are often employed to bargain for specific arrangements (e.g.- work release, treatment programs, etc…) and/or reduce or eliminate jail time.
We Can Help
The criminal justice system can be confusing and intimidating. Let our experience guide you through the system. The choices you make may impact your job, your family and your freedom. We help you make the right choices.
To schedule a free consultation please call us at (989) 358-2100.